1 Billion Facebook Users: Now or Later
Facebook has been projected to hit 1 Billion users in 2012. That projection is still on target, however the time frame keeps changing. In January, Mashable was predicting that Facebook would hit 1 Billion users by August. Now the actual growth figures are changing that prediction.
This chart shows actual growth in solid blue and projected growth in the dotted line. However if you notice their growth trajectory, what they are not accounting for as severe a decline in the growth rate as actually happened. According to this Mashable chart, they should have hit 900 million users in February. However, it has taken them until the end of April to hit that number.
Since February of 2010 until August of 2011, Facebook has had a growth rate of 8.01%. When the original prediction was made they anticipated the decline in growth rate to be 1.7%, therefore slowing it down to 6.3% growth . However, it seems that the current actual growth rate has slowed by 2.47% leaving the current growth rate at 5.54%.
A nearly 3% drop in growth rate is significant for the social network.
Facebook has been approaching a terminal saturation rate for some time. It is not a sign that the social network is declining. It actually speaks the the fact that most of the people who are interested in Facebook are already on Facebook. Is it possible the new growth rate will continue to slow? Yes it is. But it is not likely that it will drop off entirely.
After 6 years of aggressive growth, we might be about to see Facebook's steady growth rate emerge. After all there are kids turning 16 every day, anxious to hop onto the worlds most popular social network.